Each month Newsline 9 unveils our latest Jefferson Award winner.
Our February 2014 honoree is a familiar face. During the past few years, we've followed the volunteer efforts of Noah Lamaide, an 8th grader from Stevens Point.
Lamaide has made helping others a way of life.
“I think that it will make the world such a great place."
He hopes his example encourages others to do the same.
“I would love to see other people do it and inspire other people to do it,” said Lamaide.
The 14-year-old's volunteer efforts date back to his ninth birthday when he decided to help a Portage County non-profit agency that helps the needy.
“For my 9th birthday, I got diapers and stuff for Operation Bootstrap. That is the first real big thing I did,” he said.
Later, he set up a website called Noah's Dream Catcher's Network. It gained international attention and raised $10,000 to save his grandmother's home from foreclosure. Then came annual holiday food and gift collections.
This past Christmas, he honored the memory of a friend who died by organizing a pajama drive.
“I figured no one deserved to get nothing, so I got movies, hot chocolate and movies that were distributed,” said Lamaide.
He says helping hands make the projects reality.
“I have a group of friends that help me and I could never be so successful is it wasn't for the community,” he said.
A grateful community at that. When Newsline 9 traveled to Stevens Point to meet with Noah, he was taking part in a catholic schools assembly at Pacelli High School. When our crew arrived, school leaders asked us to award Noah with his Jefferson Award in front of the crowd.
There was a loud round of applause fo rthis soft-spoken young man, who continues to encourage others to reach out and volunteer.
“Even if you have doubts and you're not sure, you will feel good about yourself, no matter how small," he said.
If you know someone deserving a Jefferson Award, you can nominate them by clicking here.